The Long and Short of It ► UpLyfting Thoughts #4

Lyfting is great fun and a wonderful way to meet interesting people that I rarely encounter during my average day-to-day.

However, it’s taken some time to get used to.

Back in my disreputable past I once drove taxi in Toronto, while freelancing as a writer for various publications, which even included Taxi News (under the nom de plume Travis Bickel).

Driving hack is very different experience. However, it took a while to change my taxi habits when I first started Lyfting 8 weeks ago. I behaved more like a taxi driver while still trying to find my rhythm.

F’rinstance: I’d decide it was time for a Lyft Shift™, get in the car, and cruise — because that’s what taxi drivers do — what I did. Although some cabbies would sit on a cab stand and wait, I never did that. I’d cruise with 1 eye on the road, 1 eye on street corners for flaggers, 1 ear on my music, and 1 ear on the CB radio, where a dispatcher rambled to drivers virtually non-stop.

However, it took a few weeks Lyfting before I realized that getting in the car and driving a wide, lazy, 7 mile circle around my crib in CondoWorld only served to waste gas. Now I log into Lyft from my desk at home [like at this very moment] and try to get some Not Now Silly word crafting accomplished between orders. However — and this is very important — I can’t walk more than 10 seconds away from my phone, because that’s only how much time I am given to accept a client when one pops up. When an order comes in, I toss on my shoes and leave the condo. The writing (or housework) will wait until I get back.

When I do get a client, I take them where they need to go. Then — no matter how many highways I may have taken to get there — slowly drift back on surface roads to where I live in Condoville. Sometimes I can bounce around for hours, servicing many clients, both long and short, before I can get home. Sometimes, I only get one and drift back to my condo, go back to my other work, and wait for the next Lyfter.

I’m still feeling my way and trying to understand the vagaries of Lyft. Frinstance: Most weekdays I now log into Lyft from my desk at home when I wake up at 5AM. There are times an order comes in before the pot of coffee is ready and I am forced to leave it behind. There are other times I am logged in for as long as 2.5 hours before a Lyfter knocks on my phone. Additionally, there are times that first run of the day is a long one, but there are other times it’s just a short jaunt of under $4.

Yesterday a gentleman apologized because it was such a short run. I told him not to apologize. “Long runs. Short runs. It’s all the same job. Pick up the customer and take them to where they’re going. I can’t speak for other Lyft drivers, but you need not apologize to me.”

As I drive, I think. When possible, I jot down notes for further UpLyfting Thoughts. Already partly written are essays on my rules of the road, personalized license plates, random musical selections, and Dad jokes. Stay tuned for the further adventures of me and the Grey Ghost.


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Headly Westerfield
Calling himself “A liberally progressive, sarcastically cynical, iconoclastic polymath,” Headly Westerfield has been a professional writer all his adult life.